Category Archives: The Front Office

What to do when, if, healthy?

We await word on some banged-up players and moves while the Yanks have off today.

But here is one thought. Once Mark Teixeira comes off the DL (he expects it to be Easter Sunday, next Sunday), what then?

Here is one thought: keep Solarte in the lineup and bench Roberts. You can put Johnson at 2B and keep Solarte at 3B (preferred) or vice-versa.

Roberts, who hasn’t played more than 77 games in a season since 2009, has back troubles right now. I don’t know if he is DL-bound or not, but his injury history since 2009 isn’t good. Besides, he is just 4 for 31 right now, all singles. He is 2 for 2 in SB.

Who knows how long Solarte will stay hot or when he cools off, how much and how long he will fizzle. Solarte is 15 for 42 (.357) and leads the AL with 6 doubles. Solarte is also 10 years younger than Roberts.

Meanwhile, you wonder about the fragility of the infield. Could Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales be signed mid-season if they are still available?

Yankees moves.

With Robertson DL’d,

Joel Sherman@Joelsherman147m

Talked to Cashman who said will call up either LH Cesar Cabral or RH Shane Greene who opened eyes in camp, to fill DRob roster spot

Yanks trade Eduardo Nunez to Twins for a LHP (minor leaguer).

Joel Sherman@Joelsherman138m

acquired LHP Miguel Sulbaran from the Minnesota in exchange for INF Eduardo Nunez.

Sulbaran is 20, LHP and went 9-4, 2.96 in A ball last year (27 games, 20 starts).

Yanks rotation set, and the value of patience

Although the #5 starter hasn’t been officially named yet (it appears to be Pineda), Joe Girardi announced his rotation for the first four games. It’ll be CC, Kuroda and Nova to begin the season in Houston. Tanaka goes in game 4 at Toronto in his first MLB start.

From Jack Curry of YES:

As noted, w/ Tanaka starting April 4, he’s in line to go April 9, 15, 20, 26, May 2, meaning extra rest 3 times in 1st month.

Meanwhile, I got into a discussion with someone on another blog. I can’t believe someone has this little patience. The person called J.R. (John Ryan) Murphy a third-string catcher who can’t hit. I reminded the person that Murphy has a total of 26 MLB at bats and hasn’t turned 23 yet. Their response was that Trout is a superstar.

Really?

I reminded this person that by their criteria, that

1) they would have given up on Mickey Mantle. After all, the 19 year old Mantle was sent down in the summer of 1951.

2) they would have given up on Sandy Koufax. After all, in spring training of 1961, Sandy was a 25 year old lefty who (1955-1960) had a career record of 36-40.

3) they would have traded Mariano Rivera. For on 11/29/1995, Mo’s 26th b/day, Rivera had an MLB line of 10 starts, 9 relief appearances. 5-3, 5.51.

4) I did not mention this one.  In spring training of 1977, a 26 1/2 year old Ron Guidry had this MLB line:   1 start, 16 relief appearances. 0-1, 4.55.   ‘

I don’t know if J.R. Murphy WILL amount to anything. But this person wants to give up on him after 26 at bats in the majors and before he turns 23?

Really?

Thank God this person isn’t Brian Cashman.

 

Is Jeter primed for a comeback season?

David Phelps says that Derek Jeter looks “amazing” in workouts so far.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/fellow-yankee-captain-amazing-workouts-article-1.1603307

We’ll see if it translates to spring training and the regular season, because Yankees fans do have a right to be concerned. Jeter broke an ankle in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS and was limited to 17 games and a .190 average last year. He turns 40 in June and well, you don’t see too many 40 year old shortstops.

In another story, when the Yanks were discussing catching needs, Gene Michael stated to get McCann, because he reminded Gene of Michael’s ex-teammate, Thurman Munson. High praise, indeed. When told that, Hal Steinbrenner’s response was “Go get him,” which the Yanks did at 5 years, $85MM.

You may recall that McCann blocked the plate last year when an opposing player went deep and then cursed at players while rounding the bases. You have to like that fire, intensity and commitment to playing the game right.

We’ve had too much snow and ice in the Northeast (where I live) lately. Bring on spring.

Happy b/day to Hank Aaron, who turned 80 yesterday. As for today, it was on this date that Babe Ruth was born in 1895.

Yankees get Tanaka, 7 years, $155 w/opt-out after 4.

This will be short because I have to prepare for work. I missed yesterday b/c of the snow and have had to take two unscheduled days this year b/c of snowstorms. Too many of those and I get written up. But what am I to do when I can’t get in (fish-tailing, ice, snow, brakes locking up b/c of the weather conditions, getting stuck… )….

The Yankees got Tanaka. Breaking news. 7 yrs./$155MM w/an opt-out after 4. This sets their rotation. CC, Kuroda, Tanaka, Nova and a fight for #5 between Phelps, Warren, Pineda and Nuno. If Pineda can come back to what he was….

Anyway, a BIG offseason for the Yankees. Forget about that salary cap. McCann, Beltran, Ellsbury and Tanaka.

Wow. Are they done, or is there more to come? (infielder, bullpen help?)

Postscript: Yanks DFA Huff to make room for Tanaka. Apparently, the Yanks did use Matsui to make a recruiting pitch to Tanaka. I don’t know if Kuroda or Ichiro did the same, but if you have them to make the pitch, why not use them?

Super Bowl set as we wait on Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka’s decision could come as early as Tuesday (tomorrow) or Wednesday in order for all physicals to be done by the deadline for him picking a team—5 p.m. Friday. A friend asked me my opinion as to who Tanaka signs with, and quite honestly, I have no clue. Apparently six teams, including the Yankees, all put in bids of at least 6 years and at $20MM/yr. Arizona is said to have put in a strong bid. I hope the Yanks get him (and I hope Ichiro and Matsui put a bug in Tanaka’s ear about playing in NY) but I don’t have any feelings or premonitions where he may go.

Once he goes, the rest of the dominoes (Jiminez, Garza, Arroyo, E. Santana, etc). should fall.

Meanwhile, Super Bowl 48 (please dispense with the Roman Numerals already) is set for the Meadowlands Feb. 2. Denver vs. Seattle. With about a month to go in the regular season, a friend had me fill out a form for him for a contest. You had to pick the 12 playoff teams (I got 10 or 11 of the 12) and the Super Bowl contestants. I nailed Denver and Seattle. He is supposed to split the winnings with me if we win. As for the Super Bowl pick, I had Denver 35, Seattle 21. After that interview Erin Andrews had post-game with Richard Sherman, I really hope I am right. I’d rather root for the classy Manning than people like Sherman (or, for that matter, Pete Carroll).

Yanks to add 3B, but it is not Reynolds

From Twitter, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

Mark Feinsand ‏@FeinsandNYDN 8h
Doesn’t look like Mark Reynolds will be back with Yankees. NYY only offered him minor-league deal according to source. He won’t take that.

Reynolds D, BA and his strikeouts aren’t good, but he would have provided the power lost in the A-Rod suspension. Maybe the Yanks are just looking for D there now that Alex is suspended for the entire year but they do need some kind of a stick there. Last year was pathetic, and A-Rod’s mediocre .244-7-19, ops+ 111 line in 44 games was the best of the bunch. Youkilis had just 28 games. David Adams, Jayson Nix and Luis Cruz are now gone and you didn’t get much offensively there. Nix got the most time of anyone at 3b last year, .236-3-24, 13 SB. OPS+ 71. Adams got 140 at bats, .193-2-13, OPS+ 48. Youk 105 at bats, .219-2-8, ops+ 78. Then you had Cruz, Chris Nelson, Brent Lillibridge and Eduardo Nunez… let’s hope 3b isn’t a rotating door like it was in 2013 and there is a constant there.

Which is why I wanted Reynolds re-signed. But if the Yanks are offering just a minor-league deal, as Feinsand reported, it ain’t happening.

But one guy who is taking the minor-league deal is Scott Sizemore. I can’t say I’m too thrilled. It looks like another bargain shop (if so, I hope they are saving the $$$ for Tanaka). Dumpster-diving. Sizemore doesn’t look like much of an upgrade over the likes of what was there last year in Cruz, Nelson, Lillibridge, etc.

Sizemore, 29, is a righty bat who can play 2B (60 MLB games there) or 3B (97). In his MLB career, 160 games (full season’s worth) he has hit .238-14-70. OPS+ 95. A little pop, not as much as Reynolds. Average not inspiring. The thing is, 110 of those 160 games played came in 2011. Since then he has been battling injuries. He’s played in just two MLB games since 2011, and so I think he isn’t the answer at 3B.

I am wondering how much of a shot 27-year-old Dean Anna may get in spring training. Anna has only played in 53 games at 3B in the minors. He has mostly played 2B and SS. But besides 2B and SS, the lefty hitter has also played 3B, LF and RF. He hit .331-9-73 for SD’s AAA team last year and .271-10-47 for their AA team in 2012. But you wonder if Anna could be like Adams—decent minor league numbers but when he gets to the bigs, nothing. The only way to find out is to play him and see what he has.

But I’m a bit disappointed that Reynolds wasn’t offered a major league deal. Maybe the Yanks do find a diamond in the rough by dumpster-diving. But I’m worried about 2014 being like 2013, where for most of the season it was a “bum of the month club.”

If they were only offering Reynolds a minor-league deal, and signed Sizemore to one, then I am guessing that there may be no interest then in Michael Young. We’ll see if I am right.

A-Rod suspension announced. All of 2014, including postseason.

The arbitrator announced A-Rod’s suspension today, and the reduction wasn’t too much. Instead of 211 games, he gets 162—all of this 2014 season, including the postseason, if the Yanks make it there.

It could be we’ve seen the last of A-Rod, who, if he tries to come back in 2015, would be doing so at age 39 1/2 (he’d turn 40 in July 2015) after missing a full season and after having two hip surgeries. You don’t know… come 2015 the Yanks could just say screw this, we’re sick of it and then eat the final three years of A-Rod’s deal. I hope so. I’m tired of the circus.

Alex will of course fight this, but even if he somehow wins (I can’t see it happening), that “victory” would come when, August?

If this is the end for Alex, he falls a bit short of some milestones. His 654* HR are six short of Willie Mays’ 660 (asterisk intentional), ranking him fifth on the all-time list. The .244 average he put up last year knocked his career average down to .299. He was TWO hits away from having that rounded up to become a .300 hitter. He would end with 2939 hits, 61 short of 3000, and he would end with 1969 RBI—31 short of 2000. Baseball-reference. com lists Aaron, Ruth and Cap Anson as the only three to reach the 2000 RBI plateau, and there are problems with Ruth and Anson. Anson’s first five years, (1871-1875) were in a league not recognized by MLB as being major league. Also, RBIs weren’t an official statistic until 1920, making some of Ruth’s total unofficial. Anyway, you can see what an exclusive club 2000 RBIs are (Barry Bonds finished four short and Gehrig five short).

The Yanks opened up roster space for Matt Thornton yesterday by DFA-ing Vernon Wells. Wells hit .233-11-50 for the Yanks last year, but had just one HR after mid-May.

As for now, the Yanks could do a few things. They could platoon Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez at 3B. They could move the aging (40 in June) Jeter to third because of his diminishing range and play good-field/no-hit Brendan Ryan at short.

I’d rather re-sign Mark Reynolds, who had a brief cameo with the Yanks last year and who wants to return.

A-Rod hit .244-7-19, OPS+ 111 for the Yanks last year. 156 at bats in 44 games. If you multiply that by 3, you’d get 132 games, 468 at bats, about a normal full season for one who turned 38 last July. That means .244-21-57. OPS+ 111. No great shakes. Yes, he was coming off hip surgery, but no great shakes, anyway. Clearly a fading player.

Reynolds, 30, played in 36 games for the Yanks and had 110 at bats. .236-6-19. OPS+ 104. Overall, with Cleveland and the Yanks, he played in 135 games, had 445 at bats and hit .220-21-67, OPS+ 96 with 154 strikeouts. Lower BA and OPS than A-Rod, but power-wise about the same. If he is re-signed, and platooned with Johnson at third, the Yanks could get back some of the power lost by losing A-Rod. Reynolds, being 30, may at this point be a better option than the fading Alex.

Reynolds’ 162-g. average is just .233, but 33 HR and 93 RBI (but 209 K). OPS+ 108. Low average, lot of K’s, but a lot of power potential.

If the Yanks re-sign him, they could put out a lineup that could look like this (assuming Gardner isn’t traded for someone like Homer Bailey):

Ellsbury CF
Jeter SS
Beltran RF
Soriano DH
McCann C
Teixeira 1B
Reynolds 3B
Roberts 2B
Gardner LF

DH would, of course, need to be rotated between the aging (40 in June) Jeter, the 38-year-old Soriano and Beltran. Kelly Johnson figures in here, platooning with Reynolds (batting 7th) or filling in for Roberts (batting 8th then).

Signing Michael Young is another option, but I’d prefer Reynolds’ power. Young is aging himself. He is 37. One concern going into 2014 was if A-Rod returned, you’d have an old left side of the infield with one guy 40 in June and the other 39 in July. Those concerns would not be alleviated much with a SS 40 in June and a 37 year-old 3B in Young. Young hit .279-8-46 for the Phils and Dodgers last year. He is a true pro, but only had 8 HR for Texas in 2012. His power is fading, unlike Reynolds (whose problems are in meeting the ball). Young’s OPS+ was 102 last year but just an 80 in 2012. A .300 hitter, Young averaged .278-8-56 over the past two years, OPS+ 90.

I like Young, but would rather go for the power potential Reynolds provides as well as the youth. Jeter, Beltran, Soriano and Teixeira are all on the other side of their prime years (the downside), and that isn’t even including Roberts, who hasn’t played much the past four years. Adding more age in Young isn’t the way I’d like to go. I’d rather have Reynolds. We’ll see.

Christmas present? Tanaka to be posted.

Reports are now that Masahiro Tanaka WILL be posted by Rakuten. The way it would work is that all 30 MLB teams would have the right to negotiate with Tanaka, and the team he signs with would have to pay the $20MM posting fee. Tanaka, 25, was 24-0, 1.27 for Rakuten in 2013. Granted that the Japanese major leagues isn’t the U.S. majors (as the Yanks found out with Irabu and Igawa), but 24-0, 1.27 isn’t to be ignored, nor is Tanaka’s age. Just 25, you would think his prime years are still ahead.

The Yanks have stated that if they can’t get under the $189MM salary cap, they may as well go way over. Why have a $192MM payroll, just barely over, when you can get better players? $192MM and going 85-77 means nothing. It’s a waste. Why do that? You may as well then go $210MM and make sure you go 95-67 and make the playoffs, luxury tax be damned.

Major competition for Tanaka’s services appear to come from the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels and Arizona.

Hopefully the Yanks land him. Kuroda will be 39. CC had a bad year last year and is aging himself. Nova isn’t proven. Nor Phelps or Warren. There isn’t a stud ace in the minor league system that we know of (unless Banuelos, coming off injury, surprises, same with Pineda, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011. Or you can hope that Nuno is a late developer). The Yanks could sure use Tanaka.

But what will he command in addition to the posting fee?

Are the Yanks interested in Balfour?

Reports are that the Yankees could be one of four teams interested in Grant Balfour as their closer. This concerns me because Balfour was supposed to have a $15MM, 2-year deal with the Orioles. The Orioles backed out because of concerns about Balfour’s shoulder.

So one team backs out of a deal because of health concerns and you rush in to pick the guy up? What is wrong with this picture?

I don’t mind Balfour, IF HE IS HEALTHY. The guy was 1-3, 2.59 with 38 saves in 2013 for Oakland. The year before, he was 3-2, 24 saves, 2.59. For his career, 28-17, 3.27. Solid. In the last four seasons, he is 11-8, 2.47 with an ERA+ of 158. He does add even more age to an aging Yankees team, however. He is 36.

Personally, I don’t see the rush to get him, Rodney (who I can’t stand), etc. In 1997, the Yanks took a chance and named Mariano Rivera the closer after a wonderful season setting up WS MVP John Wetteland in 1996. I wouldn’t mind seeing Robertson be the closer in 2014.

Having a backup to Robertson isn’t a bad idea, but why not give Robertson the opportunity to see what he can do?